Poetry Festival: Long Song for Summer - Camden Art Centre

Long Song For Summer was a poetry festival celebrating the work of a wide range of experimental and avant-garde poets based in or in regular contact with the UK in the 21st Century.

A group of 12 poets were joined by DJs, emphasising the unique and altogether vanguard crossovers between bass and lyric cultures. In addition to this F(r)ictions presented a programme of video work and short films screened in the cafe area.

The poet’s performances at the festival were recorded and is available on demand.

The poets themselves work on the fringes of the mainstream polite poetry world, with a focus on language, and language’s rescue from its abstraction and disempowerment in the era of financialised racial capitalism. With works ranging from a rekindling the spirit of Black Radicalism to exploring the mundanity of Suburbia, alongside the revolutionary dance between cadence and metaphor, this group of poets have been selected as both representative of UK-wide lyric sub-cultures as well as influential in their own right, with emphases on Global South solidarity and a decolonization.

Poets: Ashwani Sharma; Maria Sledmere; Dove/Christopher Kirubi; Mira Mattar; Keston Sutherland; Cole Denyer; Kat Sinclair; Oscar Guardiola-Rivera; James Goodwin; Nisha Ramayya; Luke Roberts; Ronnie McGrath.

DJs: JWARN [Sub Merchants], Sueuga, and Edna Martinez.

Filmakers: Tekla Aslanishvili; Giorgi Gago Gagoshidze; Edmund Hardy; Gonçalo Lamas; Lika Tarkhan-Mouravi; Sarah Al-Sarraj and Anuka Ramischwili-Schäfer.

Listen to the audio documentation of the festival below.

Listen to the festival The Poets About the Organsiers

Listen to the audio recordings of the festival

The Poets and Performers

Ashwani Sharma is a senior lecturer at the London College of Communication (UAL). They teach and write in the areas of film,  and contemporary art, poetics, race, postcolonial and cultural studies. They are the founding co-editor of darkmatter journal (https://darkmatter-hub.pubpub.org/). They co-wrote with Azad Ashim Sharma and Kashif Sharma-Patel Suburban Finesse (Sad Press). They have also published poetry with Mote and The Hythe, 87 Press. Ashwani is the co-editor of Disorienting Rhythms: The Politics of Asian Dance Music (Zed Press). They are working on a monograph on race and audiovisual culture (Bloomsbury Academic) and their first collection of poetry/experimental writing.

Cole Denyer is an artist and poet. His works include cc: death chartered institute of personnel & development, by Veer2 (2022), self-published works include In Boiling England (2021) & The Housing Act (2019). His poems have appeared in DATABLEED 12 & 13, alongside the 87 press The Hythe: Digital Poetics & Ludd Gang 8. He organises Rest Breaks, a poetry and performance event series and is the co-founder of scatalogic rites of all nations.

Maria Sledmere is currently Lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of Strathclyde and Tutor at the University of Glasgow and Beyond Form Creative Writing. She is editor-in-chief of SPAM Press and a member of the art and ecology collective, A+E. In 2021, The Palace of Humming Trees, a multimedia exhibition with Katie O’Grady and Jack O’Flynn, was shown at French Street Studios. With Rhian Williams, Maria co-edited an anthology, the weird folds: everyday poems from the anthropocene (Dostoyevsky Wannabe, 2020), and her debut collection, The Luna Erratum, is out now also with Dostoyevsky Wannabe. A book-length poem, String Feeling, is forthcoming with Erotoplasty Editions, in addition to a pamphlet, Sans Soleil, written with fred spoliar and published by Face Press/Mermaid Motel.

Mira Mattar writes fiction and poetry. Her novel, Yes, I Am A Destroyer was published in 2020 by Ma Bibliothèque and her chapbook, Affiliation, was published in 2021 by Sad Press. Her first collection of poems, The Bow, was recently published by The 87 Press. She lives and works in London.

Kat Sinclair is a poet and tutor from Southampton, currently working towards a PhD at the University of Sussex researching feminised labour and robotics. She is the author of Very Authentic Person (2019, the 87 Press), and PLEASE PRESS (2022, Sad Press).

Oscar Guardiola-Rivera is the author of two critically acclaimed books: What If Latin America Ruled the World? (Bloomsbury, 2010) was listed as a Book of the Year, Non-fiction by the Financial Times, won the Frantz Fanon Award for Outstanding Writing by the Caribbean Philosophical Association, 2010, was nominated for the Gladstone Prize 2011 and for the George Orwell Award for Political Writing, and was features by the BBC Today programme with Andrew Marr. Story of a Death Foretold (Bloomsbury, 2013) was shortlisted for the 2014 Bread & Roses Award, and listed as a Book of the Year, Non-Fiction by The Observer in 2013.

James Goodwin is a poet doing a PhD in English and Humanities at Birkbeck, University of London. His pamphlet, aspects caught in the headspace we’re in: composition for friends (2020), is published by Face Press; and his debut book, Fleshed Out For All The Corners Of The Slip (2021), is published by the87press. His work has appeared in publications such as Poetry Wales, the Earthbound Press poetry pamphlet series with his Notes on Breath and Emanation (2020), There are New Suns / Bruised Blossoms (Verlag für moderne Kunst, 2021), LUDD GANG #5 (Poet’s Hardship Fund UK), and Altered States (Ignota Books, 2021). He has held poetry and poetics workshops, exhibited his visual art, and read his work in collaboration with The Showroom, Nottingham Contemporary & the Critical Poetics research group (Nottingham Trent University), Kunstraum Niederösterreich, VBKÖ (Austrian Association of Women Artists), Camden Arts Centre, Whitechapel Gallery, CCA Glasgow (with Nisha Ramayya), and (at) Arika – Episode 10: A Means Without End.

Christopher Kirubi/Dove is a London based poet and artist.

Luke Roberts is the author of Home Radio (the87), Glacial Decoys (Free Poetry) and other works of poetry and prose. He lives in London.

Nisha Ramayya grew up in Glasgow and now lives in London. Her poetry collection States of the Body Produced by Love (2019) is published by Ignota Books. Recent projects and publications include: poems in Ludd Gang (https://poetshardshipfunduk.com/about/); a collaboration with sonic dramaturg MJ Harding performed at Wysing Polyphonic 2021: Under Ether (reviewed in Tank); a sequence of poems reflecting on Scotland’s colonial histories in CCA Annex; and an essay-poem in response to the work of mathematician Fernando Zalamea in audiograft. She is currently working on a second poetry collection, tentatively called Now Let’s Take a Listening Walk.

Jwarn is a forever humble student of the dance floor, Jwarn is inspired by music and its capacity for creating those magical moments. As a Subtle Radio resident and multi-genre label boss of Sub Merchants, Jwarn seamlessly navigates an array of bass-infused flavors, delivering the flows to wriggle your toes to.

Edna Martinez is an Artist, Dj / Curator of the Colombian Caribbean based in Berlin and Cartagena de Indias. Her musical selection is linked to her artistic research in which she explores autobiographical migratory routes keeping the concept of resistance as a reference. Her focus is building an ecosystem that transcends borders through the sounds that she loves to share: Afro-Caribbean rhythms, jazz bases, tribal polyrhythms, Arabic folklore and more.

Tekla Aslanishvili (b. Tbilisi 1988) is a Berlin-based artist, filmmaker and essayist. Her works emerge at the intersection of infrastructural design, history and geopolitics. Tekla graduated from the Tbilisi State Academy of Arts in 2009 and she holds an MFA from the Berlin University of the Arts – the department of Experimental Film and New Media Art. Aslanishvili’s films have been screened and exhibited internationally at the Neue Berliner Kunstverein, Baltic Triennial, Short Film Festival Oberhausen, Kasseler Dokfest, Kunsthalle Münster, EMAF – European Media Art Festival, Videonale 18, Tbilisi Architecture Biennial.

 She is a 2018–2019 Digital Earth Fellow and most recently the nominee for the Ars-Viva Art prize and the recipient of the Han Nefkens
 Foundation – Fundació Antoni Tàpies Video Art Production Award.

Giorgi Gago Gagoshidze (b. 1983, Kutaisi) is a Berlin-based artist and filmmaker. He studied fine arts at the State Academy of Fine Arts in Tbilisi (2001-2007), at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in The Hague (2008-2010) and experimental film and video with Hito Steyerl at the Berlin University of the Arts (2012-2016). In his works, Gagoshidze deals with the moving image, the political background to its production and distribution, and its socio-political significance. His works have been shown internationally in various exhibitions such as: Lulea, Luleå Biennial 2020 / Vienna, Kunsthalle Wien / Graz, steirischer herbst ‘19 / Stockholm, Konsthall Mint ABF / Berlin, n.b.k./

Edmund Hardy is a filmmaker and poet based in London who also creates music and art as Namida Red. His poetry pamphlet Every Cruel Thing (2021) came out from Monitor Books, and he is currently working on the edit of Negative Worlds, a 70 minute collage film about people searching for another better world within this one.

Gonçalo Lamas is an artist and writer from Porto, Portugal. After briefly studying film, he joined the BA Fine Art at Central Saint Martins, graduating in 2017, after a semester at UdK Berlin. In 2020, he presented the performance ‘Boeing Nº 737-800 in F#m’ at Culturgest Porto and launched an accompanying bilingual book at the 6th Artist Self-Publishers’ Fair. ‘Granary Squares’, his first work for cinema, shot and edited in London, premiered at IndieLisboa International Film Festival, in 2021. ‘some times zero hours’, edited by SPAM Press, is his first poetry pamphlet.

Lika Tarkhan-Mouravi is an artist, independent curator and researcher based in London/Tbilisi. Her practice focuses on intersections between visual arts and text.

Sarah Al-Sarraj (she/they) is an artist working with painting, comics, writing, and moving image. Her practice cultivates a visual language that aims to deconstruct power and reimagine liberated futures. Focusing on a curiosity about the unseen – secrets, fantasy, desire, and dreams – their work dwells in the radical potential of imagination. Sarah recently completed Wysing’s AMPlify residency and Open School East’s Associate’s Programme, she previously worked at Forensic Architecture and is currently programming for Healing Justice London, exploring health, healing, anti-oppression and liberation practice.

Anuka Ramischwili-Schäfer is a Georgian-German filmmaker, working in sound, film and multimedia. Their work questions themes of displacement, translation, gossip, and dysphoria. They attempt to work against ethnocentricism, in particular in terms of West Asia and the diaspora. They have most recently screened at London Short Film Festival, E A Shared Space online (Tbilisi), and as part of the One Minutes series curated by Jesse Darling. They are the founder of F(r)ictions, a screening programme for short experimental film.

About the Organsiers

The 87 Press is a South Asian, non-binary, and neurodiverse-led small press based in South London. Over the last three years, they’ve published 22 books, hosted over 30 poetry events, and published new writing online through their interdisciplinary e-journal theHythe. the87press publishes poetry, non-fiction, and fiction at the intersections of class, gender, sexuality, race, and neurodiversity.

The Sonic Agent is the curated multifarious venture of Christina Hazboun, a Palestinian explorer of music in space, time and society through promotion, boutique PR, research, radio shows, mixes, music film curation and podcasting. Her main sphere of activity focuses on increasing the appearance and audibility of new sounds and music from West Asia, North Africa and the global south sharing hybrid, diverse and powerful voices with those who come with an open ear.

F(r)ictions is a film screening series based in London focusing on experimental DIY film and video prioritising queer, feminist and qtipoc film-making.